Lots of space in the van with eight people on the trip, best kebabs at Bulls and luxury camping (with hot showers) just past Whanganui, and that was just the Friday night… this was going to be a great tramp.
After an early start on Saturday morning, thanks to the 5am wake-up call from the roosters, we drove an hour or so along the windy road up the valley to the start of the track to Trains Hut. The track started off as a dusty farm road with stampeding cows, even though the small brown Waitotara river was “flowing” beside the track, the effects of the lack of rain were certainly noticeable.
But then the track turned into a lush bush track following the river all the way to Trains Hut. The track was easy to follow and by the time we passed the big swing bridge we knew that we were nearly there. Trains Hut itself is a pretty new and comfy hut set on a nice clearing with lots of camping space around.
With the beautiful weather and plenty of time before dinner some of us couldn’t resist the temptation of having a swim in the river near the Terereohaupa Falls even though the water was not as clear as you would like it to be. After a nice refreshing dip we explored the stones along the river containing lots of fossilised sea shells and found proof that possums use bridges to cross rivers as well.
After a great dinner with chocolate mousse and whipped cream for dessert we had an early night with some of us camping and others sleeping in the hut. The night itself wasn’t as peaceful as the beautiful views of the milky way suggested; a weird loud worrying sound woke us up during the night and blood splatters on the fly the next morning showed evidence that a murder had taken place in the tree above. We didn’t investigate further but are pretty sure the criminal was a furry one.
With a misty but almost on schedule start we were back at the van around lunchtime and after exploring whether the mysterious town of Taumatatahi over the bridge had an ice cream shop we made our way back to civilisation. Sunday afternoon coffee with great cake and live music in Whanganui to ease into it and then on to Wellington.